[csaa-forum] reminder - Critical Disability Studies, Garland-Thomson 20/3 USYD workshop

Gerard Goggin gerard.goggin at sydney.edu.au
Thu Mar 12 13:21:01 ACST 2015

Critical Disability Studies: Implications, Prospects, Futures

A Sydney Workshop with Professor Rosemarie Garland-Thomson

10.30am-4pm, Friday 20 March, 2015


Veterinary Science Conference Centre

Seminar Room 115, Webster Building B22

University of Sydney (Camperdown Campus; off Ross Street entrance)

Map ref: http://lostoncampus.com.au/286/map

Limited places available, RSVP essential: https://eventbrite.com.au/event/16027681226/

Supported by Dept of Media and Communication, & Centre for Disability Research and Policy, & Charles Perkins Centre Health Humanities Node, University of Sydney

& Critical Disability Studies Thematic Group, The Australian Sociology Association, in conjunction with Curtin University

About the Critical Disability Studies workshop:

The workshop will feature the following presentation by Professor Garland-Thomson:

"Critical Disability Studies"

This talk describes and explores Critical Disability Studies as an interdisciplinary academic field of inquiry in the United States that expands health science perspectives by examining understandings of disability from cultural perspectives such as: civil and human rights, minority identity, diversity, social justice, sociology, historic and community studies, bioethics, and the arts. It seeks to define, defamiliarize, and challenge cultural concepts of the “normal,” “ideal,” “abnormal,” and” grotesque,” among others. My work within Critical Disability Studies defines disability as bodily variations that are interruptions or departures from a standard script of human form, function, behavior, or perception that in contemporary thought we call normal. The discrepancy between body and world, between that which is expected and that which is, produces disability as a way of being in an environment that is often devalued and believed to yield a diminished quality of life. In fact, Critical Disability Studies demonstrates that the social disadvantages of disability are not caused by a devalued trait itself but rather from disabled people’s interactions with unaccommodating environments. Critical Disability Studies, further, investigates various models that are frequently deployed to understand or describe disability, including: the moral, medical, social, cultural, and materials models. It seeks to understand eugenic logic, critically addresses the history of eugenic beliefs and practices, and challenges new manifestations of eugenics in our contemporary world. Finally, Critical Disability Studies (and my work within it) advocates narrative, accommodation (rather than elimination) of the human variations we call disability and counter-eugenic logic and argues that human variation can yield subjugated knowledge and innovative adaptations that contribute to the value of our shared world.

Following Professor Garland-Thomson’s talk, there will be presentations by Australian scholars in dialogue with Professor Garland-Thomson’s work -- as well as opportunity for participants to contribute their own reflections on critical disability studies in local contexts.

The Workshop will conclude with a tribute event, commemorating the late Tobin Siebers, leading disability studies scholar (https://record.umich.edu/articles/tobin-siebers-english-professor-and-disability-studies-advocate-dies).

About Professor Garland-Thomson

Rosemarie Garland-Thomson is Professor of English and Co-Director of the Disability Studies Initiative at Emory University (http://www.rosemariegarlandthomson.com/). Her fields of study are disability studies, American literature and culture, bioethics, and women’s studies. Her work develops the field of critical disability studies in the health humanities, broadly understood, to bring forward disability access, inclusion and identity to communities inside and outside of the academy. She is the author of Staring: How We Look (Oxford University Press, 2009) and Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Physical Disability in American Culture and Literature (Columbia University Press, 1997); coeditor of Re-Presenting Disability: Activism and Agency in the Museum (Routledge, 2010) and Disability Studies: Enabling the Humanities (Modern Language Association, 2002); and editor of Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body (New York University Press, 1996). Her current book projects include Habitable Worlds: Disability, Technology, and Eugenics, which places materialist analysis of the built environment in conversation with eugenic practices and thought, and a work on narrative bioethics.

About the organizers

The Department of Media and Communication, School of Letters, Art, and Media, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Sydney


Centre for Disability Research and Policy, University of Sydney


Critical Disability Studies Thematic Group, The Australian Sociological Association


For more information or queries about this event, contact Professor Gerard Goggin: gerard.goggin at sydney.edu.au<mailto:gerard.goggin at sydney.edu.au>, 02 9114 1218

Gerard Goggin
ARC Future Fellow
Professor of Media and Communications
Department of Media and Communications
University of Sydney

e: gerard.goggin at sydney.edu.au<applewebdata://58CAECF0-6F6E-47A3-9980-953EE0F9094E/gerard.goggin@sydney.edu.au>
p:  +61 2 9114 1218
m: +61 428 66 88 24
w: http://sydney.edu.au/arts/media_communications/staff/gerard_goggin.shtml
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